West Bromwich Albion are likely to be without defender Shelton Martis and striker Roman Bednar for a second week when they face Manchester City at Eastlands on Sunday.
Manager Tony Mowbray believes Martis could be out for a couple of weeks because of a persistent groin problem, while Bednar has a hamstring strain.
Both were missing for the 2-2 draw at Portsmouth last week after failing late fitness tests but Mowbray, who gave debuts to 17-year-old striker Chris Wood and midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu at Fratton Park, said he was confident he had adequate cover.
“Shelton pulled out of training last Thursday and failed a fitness test on Friday, so he didn’t travel with us,” Mowbray said. “Roman felt his hamstring after reporting a problem after the reserve-team game last week. He managed to train one or two days last week but ultimately decided on Friday that it was too uncomfortable to travel.
“It is unlikely they will be available for Sunday. A hamstring injury, even if it is just one or two fibres, will probably be too risky to throw Roman back in.
“Shelton has carried his groin problem for a week or two and it has probably just got too sore now. We will probably need to settle him down for another week or two and wait and see.
“I was pleased Abdoulaye Meite came in for Shelton and did a sound job at the weekend. It is good that we have some competition there. We also have Ryan Donk as well so, when Shelton is right, we will be pretty strong in that department.”
Mowbray surprised many when he called up New Zealander Wood and left out £3million signing Luke Moore, which raised questions about the striker’s future, but Mowbray said the former Aston Villa man’s exclusion was actical.
“When I picked the squad to travel on Friday, we were always going to play with one striker with midfield players sitting in behind,” said Mowbray.
“It was a question of whether I needed to take three strikers all the way down to Portsmouth, knowing I wasn’t going to put three of them on the bench.
“I had a chat with Luke and he understood. He wouldn’t have been on the bench at Portsmouth, so I didn’t take him. Jay Simpson and Roman would have been on the bench, although Roman got injured. I didn’t see Luke as a replacement for Roman. I saw Chris Wood as more of a replacement and there is nothing too sinister in it.
“Sometimes, I don’t see the benefit of taking senior players to leave them out, although you need numbers to cover for illnesses overnight.
“I was pretty sure that Luke wouldn’t be required, so I didn’t take him. I left him here rather than drag him all the way to Portsmouth, put him in a hotel and then stick him in the stand with his tracksuit on. He understood that.
“As I say to all the players, there is nothing personal in any decisions. They are made for the team. For me as a manager, as long as you explain your decisions to footballers they accept them, as long as they can see the logic in them.”